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US Officials Find Russia Shifting Influence Operations To State-Backed Media

November 30th, 2020 18:21

US media is report­ing that intel­li­gence offi­cials and ana­lysts have con­clud­ed that Rus­sia may be shift­ing the vehi­cle for its influ­ence oper­a­tions from the use of so-called troll farms and fake social media accounts to state-backed media. Accord­ing to a Voice of Amer­i­ca report:

August 5, 2020. WASHINGTON — After four years of warn­ings and prepa­ra­tions, the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion did not see a repeat of 2016, when intel­li­gence offi­cials con­clud­ed Rus­sia med­dled using a com­bi­na­tion of cyber­at­tacks and influ­ence oper­a­tions. But accord­ing to cur­rent and for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials, as well as ana­lysts, the good news ends there. The Rus­sians, they warn, have been busy lay­ing the foun­da­tion for future success.Instead of rely­ing on troll farms and fake social media accounts to try to sway the thoughts and opin­ions of Amer­i­can vot­ers, they warn the Krem­lin’s influ­ence ped­dlers have instead gained a new foothold, estab­lish­ing them­selves as part of the Unit­ed States’s news and social media ecosys­tem, ingra­ti­at­ing them­selves to U.S. audi­ences on the far right and the far left.

Read the rest here.

The arti­cle iden­ti­fies Russ­ian state-backed media out­lets such as RT, Sput­nik, TASS, and Izves­tia TV as the most “pro­lif­ic” of the above-men­tioned media.

In late Octo­ber, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed on a study that described the themes prop­a­gat­ed by Russ­ian state-backed media as follows:

Russ­ian state-backed media such as Rus­sia Today, Sput­nik, or TASS focused on four key themes: the sad state of U.S. polit­i­cal cul­ture, crit­i­cism of the U.S. media, divi­sions in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty, and Trump’s refusal to con­demn white suprema­cy. Also, the issue of Russ­ian inter­fer­ence pro­vid­ed an open­ing to ham­mer the U.S. for its alleged “Rus­so­pho­bia.”

We report­ed last week on an EUvs­Dis­in­fo project analy­sis report­ing that Russ­ian state-backed media has shift­ed to claim­ing that US democ­ra­cy is an illu­sion, the elec­tion was fraud­u­lent, and that the US has no right to lec­ture oth­ers about human rights or democracy.

Ear­li­er this month, we report­ed  that RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today) had respond­ed to the US Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions’ results by post­ing an OpEd sug­gest­ing that “US democ­ra­cy real­ly is in its death throes.”